Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas in the Country

We're on the downhill side of Christmas countdown and I hope you're ready.

christmas candle1Check out the new recipes I've just posted. One is a dessert recipe I promised; Pineapple Surprise Gelatin Dessert/Side dish - it has a surprise ingredient that will have all at the dining table trying to guess what it is.   My family has been making and serving this delicious treat for over 40 years!

Another recipe I promised is one to drink on those cold nights; party fare at it's finest during this beautiful holiday season - hope you enjoy my recipe for Tom & Jerry's.

Just click on Cat Food to find both!

Have a wonderful Christmas.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Country Christmas is Coming

christmas Church 4     Where did 2011 go?  There are only 30 days left in this year.  I'm excited about Christmas as I'm sure you all know; such a wonderful holiday encompassing the Birth of our Savior and a season of fun, food, festivities, gifts and lots of other celebrations. 
My sewing machine has been running a lot! I enjoyed helping to celebrate three birthdays in November; now Christmas and six RED (adult) tutu's for a church program and many, many other sewing projects so I've been busy. 
     I'll be making at least two more tutu's for grand daughters; a red one and a purple one.  Have a lot more "on the books", but I'm not going to divulge those surprises just yet!
christmas gingBread house     Don't forget your "from scratch" recipes to share with all our readers. I've posted at least one new one for Pumpkin Pie Bars that is a real hit. My family refers to it as 'Punkin Heaven'!
     Tom and Jerry's? Pineapple Surprise Jello? I'll be posting these and others in the next few days, so please, stay tuned.  Be sure to try some of the other recipes I've posted.  Unless otherwise noted, they are all MY creations or reinventions and YES, I've tried them all ... some are old favorites and some are getting there. They're all on the Cat Food page.
     Speaking of staying tuned .. did you see the Lighting Celebration November 30th at Rockefeller Center (in person or on television)?  Neil Diamond and Tony Bennett! ! Oh my goodness. Of course some of the up and coming 'young pups' were also featured, but Neil Diamond!  I've always been a fan of his and you just can't not love Tony Bennett; he's older than dirt!
     Do you have any special holiday traditions, ornaments or anything else?  Want to share? 
     Have a wonderful Country life as the days wind down to Christmas.
© 2011 Cat Brennan    © 2011 Cats Country Place 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Country Thanksgiving


For most of us, that's a National Holiday, offering some a chance for a short holiday and a day to cook and consume huge quantities of food. 

thanks giving turkey colorfulThis idea is just in from my sister in Belen, NM. June wrote:
"I like reading your blog. Here's how I use zip lock bags. I keep quart and gallon size always. I make broth from chicken, turkey, etc. bones. I measure out 4 to 8 cups of broth and put it into a zip lock bag. I label the bags with the quantity, 4 cups; date; and contents, chicken broth, etc. I freeze the bags flat. When the bags of broth are frozen, I store them on the bottom shelf, standing like library books. The same works for spaghetti sauce, apple juice, etc. My freezer is orderly and I can access the broth, etc. easily.
I freeze 1-4 cup lots of roasted jack o'lantern/pumpkin, left over gravy, red chili, etc. in quart bags. I label the bags, contents, quantity, and date; freeze them flat and store them in the freezer door."  Thank you, June .. some great ideas just in time for great food and their left-overs.

June also had a nice Christmas gift idea, which I've added to the Christmas, Country Style page. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, whether you live in the country, or simply wish you did.
© 2011 Cat Brennan  © 2011Cats Country Place

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Country Quiche

Quiche! It's what's for dinner - or breakfast - or lunch.  I needed to use up some cottage cheese, so I went 'net surfing and found a quiche recipe that included a small amount of the curds and whey, but it didn't quite hit the mark.  I played with it, added a few ingredients, left out and/or changed the amounts of a couple of items and voila!  This is one Very Good Quiche. quiche clip art

The recipe makes a full 9" single pie crust quiche. If you don't make your own crust, use either Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crust (2 rolls per box) or Marie Calendar® frozen pie crusts (2 crusts per package). Both are large enough; the 'cheapo' or store-brand frozen crusts do not have enough capacity.

Just click on the page above, Cat Food, where you'll find my recipe for Two Cheese Green Chile Spinach Quiche.  It is Cheese-lishous!!!cheese 01© 2011 Cat Brennan © 2011 Cats Country Place

And, to get an apron for your young chef, check out my Etsy Shop ..

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Country Holidays

Hello Country Pumpkins!
thanks giving girl w pumpkinI am so glad that Halloween is over.  I got very tired of all the stupid stuff on television and especially all the junk in the stores. Now, I can breathe a big sigh of relief and get on with the important things in life, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Both of these events inspire me to think outside myself.  Giving thanks is such a wonderful way to live and many different studies prove that being Thankful is tantamount to happiness and even good health. 

Here on the east coast, the trees are beautifully clad - really stylin' - with their leaves dancing in their new fall costumes; delightful skirts of yellow, brilliant tunics of red, burgundy, pink, plum and capes of orange. These paint-box colors are set in a backdrop of some-still-green trees and a few brown ones too. 

By now, I'm sure you're aware of how much I love Christmas ... ALL THINGS CHRISTMAS! 

sewing machine 3My sewing machine and cutting table are busy, very busy. And no, I'm not going to tell you what I'm making for Christmas gifts this year; one of my grown children suggested that I do just that..NOT!!

That same daughter sent me her Whoopie Pie recipe that she got from a website. I'm going to post it here just because it's fun .. if you're feeding a crowd, this may be just the thing. It's an Amish recipe and credit for the recipe follows:

Chocolate Whoopie Pies
4 cups white sugar
2 cups oil
2 cups cold water
2 cups milk, plus 2 tablespoons vinegar (home made "buttermilk"?)
2 cups cocoa
8 cups all purpose flour
3 eggs
4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
Mix together. Batter will be thin. Using a small scoop, drop scoopfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake at 400 to 450 degrees for about 10 minutes. Makes approximately 45 to 50.
Icing for whoopie pies
8 pounds confectioner’s sugar
6 pounds shortening (Alpine shortening recommended)
2 cups water
3 tablespoons vanilla
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
Put together in mixer and beat until fluffy. This should make a 5-gallon pail three-quarters full. Use cold water in the summer when the shortening is soft and hot water during the winter when it’s cold and hard. If you want peanut butter, put some in. Makes more than enough icing for 150 whoopie pies.


I guess I'll have to pass ... I drilled holes in the bottom or my ONLY 5 gallon pail, painted it green and planted Morning Glory's in it.

Have fun until next time.

© 2011 Cat Brennan  © 2011 Cat's Country Place

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Country Cookin'

Fall has finally made it's debut with cooler temperatures, rain, light wind and changing of the colors. Beautiful reds, oranges, pinks, burgundy's, even mauve and the standard yellow, all against a back drop of many still-green leaves and a few evergreens.  Autumn on the east coast is a site to behold. I love God's wonderful paint pallet.

Check out Cat Food for a new recipe, a really yummy Quiche.  It was originally from, but I tweaked it, added ingredients and made it 'mine'.  Hope you enjoy it.

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I didn't do much veggie gardening this year. However, in July, I adopted a 6-pack of "Charlie Brown Christmas Tree-Style" tomato plants for all of 99¢. They were so tall and leggy and I wasn't sure any would make it, but wanted to try. 

I put three of them in with the large container of marigolds, but had no place for the other three.  I thought I might get more soil, but they died before I got to it.  (And yes, this is a real picture of some of 'my' tomatoes - see the vine and the one that's still green).

I didn't get ripe tomatoes until a couple of weeks ago. They're not large, but I got my investment back!  I cut them down, leaving some vine and brought them in for fear of frost. We haven't had a frost yet, but I marked the calendar for October as a possible for our first frost.

When I cut down the vines, I picked one nice, almost ripe one, about the size of a baseball, and the rest (17 in all) are small, but ripening.  They are delicious; I guess it's true - good things come in small packages.

The weekend is right around the corner; hope you have some fall fun planned. I'm real busy these days getting things made or sewn and put into my Etsy Shop; that's a lot of fun.  Had my first sale, and I'm really stoked! 

Have a wonderful Country Weekend, whether you live in the country or just wish you did.

© 2011 Cat Brennan © 2011 Cat's Country Place

Friday, September 23, 2011


Here on the east coast, it's a rainy Friday, but I love it.  The rain is here without the help of a hurricane, and that's a good thing.

Beef cutsI just put together a Crock Pot meal; Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff and it already smells yummy. I'll let you know how it turns out.  Also have a cauliflower on to cook. I'll "mash" that after while in the food processor, add a wee bit of butter, salt and milk. That recipe is compliments of my daughter in Illinois.  It's that time of the year for 'comfort' food. I'm there! 

Whether  you prepare cauliflower on the stove top or microwave, add MILK to or replace all of the liquid with milk. It vastly improves the flavor. 

Once you've cooked cauliflower, the house will be very "fragrant".  Time to get out the cloves; whole works best, but powdered also works.  I use a small cast iron skillet, but any heavy pan will work.  In the DRY skillet, place 8 to 10 whole cloves or a teaspoon of ground cloves and place on high heat (No, do not add any liquid). Watch your stove. When you see a little puff of smoke, shake the pan.  If you have a goodly amount of fragrant, NOT BURNED, cloves-smoke, walk through your home, letting the scent permeate the affected rooms.  You may need to return the skillet to the heat to have enough fragrant smoke for your abode.  This can be used again if the cloves are still 'brown, but once they turn gray, down the disposal or into the trash.  I have dedicated my little 6" cast iron skillet to this chore, and this only, so it's always ready.  Cloves "burning" is the ONLY method I have found that will eliminate these kinds of odors (works on fish, burned food, popcorn, etc. and it's environmentally safe).

Do YOU save and reuse plastic bread bags? Or the bags that the newspaper arrives in (of course I have to add WHEN the newspaper comes)?  I save both, and have a neat way to store them. I've saved empty facial tissue boxes and stuff the bags in each one.  The bread bags are the perfect size for sweet and savory homemade breads.  The newspaper bags fill a plethora of needs such as light weight packing for packages to mail or separating small items for storage.

Have a wonderful Country weekend whether you live in the country, or simply wish you did!

© 2011 Cat Brennan © 2011 Cat's Country Place

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 Tribute - God Bless Us Everyone

The  George W. Bush Presidential Center is accepting 9/11 Memories; stories, pictures and/or videos of those recollections.  These will forever be preserved as part of the tribute to those who fell, helped, suffered and remember the tradgedy of 9/11; that is US - we are the United States and we will never forget.  This is the entry that I submitted; that is part of the record.

     "As 9/11 unfolded, I sat glued to the television for days on end.  I stared in disbelief and when I came out, everything seemed surreal.
     Years later, I had the distinct honor of meeting a New York Fireman who had been at Ground Zero. Clarence will always hold a special place in my heart. Currently, I live in VA, but on 9/11 Denver, CO was home - far removed from the physical terror, but smack in the middle of the emotional upheaval, along with everyone else in this country.     
     We were ONE NATION UNDER GOD, and yes, WE ARE INDIVISIBLE!!! We all struggled to understand, but it is impossible for ordinary and good people to understand evil. So, we cried and prayed and called our loved ones. 
     I commend President George W. Bush, and his lovely lady, Laura, for their steadfast beliefs. I praise his unwavering strength during that time.  God Bless you, President Bush! You are still MY president.
     God bless your family, and yes, God Bless us everyone."
 © 2011 Cat Brennan

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Our Country for All Country People

Please!! Be sure to fly Old Glory at least through Sunday, September 11th as we remember all the victims of 9/11 .. God Bless you and God Bless our country! 

election flagandpole2
Wikipedia has an interesting write up on the history of Labor Day ... yes, I know, I know ... but you can "take what you like (or believe) and leave the rest.  

AND ... Please check out this blog , Heroes of 9/11: The Passengers and Crew of United 93 by my dear friend, Scott Allison. The book that Scott and George R. Goethals wrote, Heroes: What They Do and Why We Need Them came out in print the fall of 2010.  His heroes are, well, heroes.

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Country Gal Can Repurpose

Zipper-style plastic bags are a wonderful invention.  Personally, I don't like the ones that come pre-packaged with frozen foods etc., mainly because the zippers are narrow and often don't track, lock and zip shut easily.  I usually end up tearing them and just opt for a clothespin or an office clip to fasten the bag shut. 
Office Supplies Clip 1
Let's move on to your ideas for re- purposing 'clear' zipper-style bags.  These come in sizes from tiny snacks to large 2 1/2 gallons - maybe  larger, for all I know! 

A friend here in Virginia took "salad-in-a-bag" to a pot luck dinner. Everything but the dressing was in the bag, ready to eat. No mess, no bother.

Some of my grand children do NOT like milk on their cereal, so mama in Maryland gives them cereal-in-a-bag.  This is a fun way to get the little ones to eat their morning meal and a great idea for grab 'n' go breakfast.

From Colorado, "The only thing unusual to me is that we put leftover spaghetti in plastic storage bags. works fine."

wedding diamond ringFrom another friend in Virginia, "I volunteer at a gift shop where I often unpack new jewelery that is in little tiny zip lock bags.  I recycle the bags by placing one set of my earrings in each bag.  The bags keep the pairs together, are easy to see through, and lie flat in a plastic box that fits in my drawer (the plastic box once had delicious chocolate in it).  I also use sandwich size bags for necklaces that hold their circular shape and often have beads attached to them."  She continues, "I use and reuse sandwich size zip lock bags for all of the items needed for craft projects for children.  I recycle them so much that I only throw them away when they are totally ripped down the side." 

Daughter in Illinois uses these "magic'' bags for a plethora of things ... I got to see her very well organized craft and sewing room where she had all the items for various projects separated into these bags in all different sizes.  These make it easy to find the project she is working on and keeps everything corralled.

magnetFurther, she has small bags held with 
magnetic clips on her refrigerator; these hold her coupons, boxtops, twist-ties and such. 

Also from Colorado: Friend VM develops and designs web sites. She stores the products associated with her clients in large, gallon size bags and files as a much neater file folder.

How about you?

Hoping you can keep it Country as the summer winds down, whether you live in the country, or simply wish you did!

© 2011 Cat Brennan © 2011 Aunt Cat's Place

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Country Jars Part IV

bananas outline

Repurposing ideas for jars are still trickling in; this latest from sister, June, who lives in NM. 

This is one cool idea, and I hope I can relate the story as June told it to me.  Recently, a visitor brought Banana Pudding to a function at June's; not just ANY Banana Pudding ... individual servings of Banana Pudding in small jars with lids and rings!
The pudding was put into little half-pint canning jars; a perfect serving size (8 oz), these little jars have a wide mouth, making them easy to access the food with a spoon.  These jars are normally used for jellies and jams, but what a wonderful country idea.  She brought them in a basket and June refrigerated the lot until time to serve dessert. 

To dress up the jars, the friend added pretty paper on top of each lid and THEN added the ring.  You have probably fitted pieces of fabric onto jar tops to gain a real country-hand-made look, but the paper is a clever twist: pick your season, theme, color .. endless ideas.

Don't forget to send your Christmas Ideas to me soon! 

Be sure to check out  Cat's CHRISTMAS, Country Style page for a new idea that you may want to "borrow".  That's where your ideas will be posted as they come in - pictures from you would be nice, too!! Be sure to check back often!!!
Happy Country Times to you.
© 2011 Cat Brennan © 2011 Aunt Cat's Place

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Early Country Christmas Thoughts

Hello Country Friends!
     With the fire in the Great Dismal Swamp here in Virginia and the smoke generated from it, I've decided to stay inside today. It did rain here earlier, but the effects of the smoke linger. To me, it smells like burned Worcestershire sauce; a friend noted on Facebook that it smelled like the burning peat fires over in Ireland.  I would love to have first hand knowledge of that "fragrance" .. someday.
     Today, I'm rearranging furniture. Now, before you "start" on me, I'm not a regular furniture re-arranger; it's too much work (and like my mother, when I find the "way I like it, why change it?).  However, I have a couple of pieces of furniture that need to be moved from room to room, so, I'll get out the round sliders and get to it;  the end result will be getting the television OUT of my living room.
     Had a nice phone call yesterday from sister June.  She had a couple of neat blogging suggestions, one of which I'll pass on to you now. 
     I'm joining June in the suggestion that we share Christmas Ideas NOW. If you're like us, you're already thinking about what you'll do; make and bake, craft or sew, quilt or scrapbook, photograph or glue - you get the idea ... all ideas welcome for the holidays, so please share!
     I'll pass on your ideas as they come in; FYI .. I pretty much use your verbiage and only change if necessary for space or grammar-sense.  So, get your Christmas on, and send along your neat ideas.

Have a wonderful Country Weekend!
© 2011 Cat Brennan  © 2011 Aunt Cat's Place

Saturday, July 23, 2011

R E P U R P O S E in the COUNTRY


heavy on recycling     I grew up doing all of these RE-RE-RE-RE’s., as did my sisters. W e didn’t have recycle bins, or high profile advertising nor was there much, if any, abundant, even wasteful government spending telling people to re-anything . We just did it. We took care of what we had, and when things became worn, we had them mended or repaired. Shoes were resoled, buttons were put back on or replaced, hems were let down, seams were let out , outgrown clothing was passed down to the younger ones or shared with the cousins .
     Today, these kinds of practices are not just for a select few . . not just underprivileged or poor people (so – called), with lots of kids and precious few resources .. not just for the 21st century hippy. Many people are getting on board. Many folks realize that new is not always better; many also understand that quite often, LESS is MORE. Perhaps torn can be mended, too long can be shortened, too small can be passed along. Plant material (potato and carrot peels etc.) can go back into the earth in the form of compost, instead of going down the garbage disposal or into the trash bins and dumpsters that feed the landfills.
     An old entertainment center can be made into a darling “kitchen” for the little princess in your life (saw this idea somewhere on the 'net, and then a dear friend actually did this for her small daughter’s birthday and it looked great - really cool)!
     Maybe a SpongeBob© lunchbox can hold your kitchen sponges. At Christmas time, I serve homemade Scottish Shortbread nestled on a green cloth napkin in my old red plaid lunch box – very pretty.
lunch box    
     I have an old “big-black-manly” lunch box that houses my hot glue gun, glue sticks, mat and holster; I labeled it GLUE GUN with white liquid paper (another repurpose). 
     My once-was-a-coal-bucket (that I put wood in when I had a fireplace) now displays some favorite house plants and a G/F has her coal bucket outside on her deck, also with plants in it. 
     For this installment, I’m going to give my sister, Eleanor, the BIG-4-R-BUTTON (Reduce, Recycle, Reuse and Repurpose). Her “item” is not new .. rather, something she accomplished a few years ago, but just the other day when I wore mine, I realized what she had done. 
     Here’s the story, as I know it. Our mother had three sets of French Havilland Bone China. When she passed away, each of us (her 3 daughters) selected her favorite set (I chose the delicate, plain white and June picked the Greek Key Pattern). Eleanor chose the set that had been in our Dad’s family; a delicate pink rose pattern. 
     Some years back, a visitor in Eleanor’s home put a piece of that china in the microwave and the dish exploded. Eleanor saved all the pieces for a long time; kudos to you, Big Sister – I probably would have cleaned it up, thrown it out and cried for days. She finally found a jeweler/craftsman who was willing and able to make pins for us from the salvaged broken pieces of our mama’s oldest-in-the-family-china. See why Eleanor gets the big 4R button?!?
     My pin even sports the ridge or curve from the side of what I assume was the edge of the plate. This was a case of fabulous repurposing. Ele she did that lemon thing .. you know the one .. when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. 
     I’ll have more 4-R’s for you next time. Perhaps you have some RE-RE-RE-RE’s you would like to pass on to us? Email them to me and I’ll use those too!
    Have a wonderful time repurposing all that stuff you have; this is a good thing whether you live in the country, or just wish you did!

© 2011 Cat Brennan © 2011 Cat’s Country Place

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cool and Nutritious in the Country

grapes largeFrozen grapes .. Yummy. I can’t claim to be the originator of this dee-lishous snack, after all, there is nothing new under the sun (Ecc 1:9), but I’ll gladly pass on the idea. FROZEN GRAPES!

I’ve tried many different varieties; large black grapes and big reds. I’ve frozen the smaller seedless whites, greens and reds. They are all so good. The only criteria I have is strictly personal .. I choose the sweetest grapes. However, you may like the tart ones. These frozen delights remind me of Popsicles with natural sugars, no guilt and I get to decide on portion size .. a single grape or a handful of these cold little globes. grapes 5When I bring home my grapes, I carefully remove them from their bag; rinsing it and setting aside to drip dry. As I remove each bunch of grapes, I wash well, then check for and remove any bad ones. Once they are all checked and rinsed, I let them sit in a colander for a few minutes to drain excess water.

Place the cleaned grapes back into their original bag and put the whole thing in the freezer. Depending on your appliance, they will be frozen in a few hours or overnight.

If your teeth are very sensitive to cold, choose the smaller grapes as they will be easier to bite into.

Take your summer country cooling one step further and look around at the other fruits from your garden, farmers market or wherever you acquire fresh produce. Water melon? Cute into shapes, balls or chunks, spear with a Popsicle stick and freeze. How about blueberries? Have fun experimenting with your favorite fruits.

Summer is in full force as we find ways to stay cool. You still can’t beat the original hydrator; water! Drink plenty and, if possible, stay inside during the hottest parts of the day.

Here’s to your Country Life whether you’re in the country or simply wish you were!
© 2011 Cat Brennan © 2011 Cat's Country Place
Frugal Fridays - Save Money With Frugal Tips And Recipes!            

Monday, July 18, 2011

Country Quote

"gold letter Dreams may be filled with silver and gold;
As long as you dream them, you'll never grow old."
© 2011 Cat Brennan

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dear Country Family and Friends:

It's been a long time since we visited; I did not fall off the planet. Life happens even in the country and in country hearts.
computer 6
I've not posted any new pictures or projects lately because my dinosaur computer is slowly but surely giving up the ghost! Not to worry! Very soon, the old HP will go to that great cyber-heaven in the sky. I'm moving all my ''stuff'' to another system, so I should be popping up in your in box more regularly once again. Thanks for your patience.

What a delightful adventure it's been, moving from winter through spring; now we're in the throes of the start of summer ... loving the warmer weather and I assume you are as well. Very recently, a wonderful things has happened due to the "magic" of cyber life and social networking. I've reconnected to an "old" friend with whom I lost contact more than twenty years ago. I've added her to my blog email. Welcome, Isabel! What a blessing!!!

Daughter, Greta in Illinois, suggested that I compose a blog about uses for plastic zipper-style bags. I would love to get all of your ideas for this category and I'll add a few of my own. Hopefully, by the time I get your input, my other system will be up and running.
recycling bin

 I'm especially interested in how you not only use, but REuse and REcycle and REpurpose those bags. I have a theory about the evolution of plastic bags; rather from whence they came, but I'll save that for another day.

I would also love to hear from you regarding things you would like to see and/or read on my blog. I'm thinking about putting together a tutorial or two. Whatcha think? Right now, I'm baking clay red chili charms for ornaments and jewelry, getting ready for a July bash; also loving my country life in the city. How about you?
Must get to the laundry ... dirty clothes happen no matter where you live. Have a wonderful country weekend.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Country Jars Part III

Grains 3Glass Jars and Bottles and Decanters, Oh My!!!Reduce .. Reuse .. Recycle .. Repurpose .. Redo

If any of these “RE” words are in your regular vocabulary, then I imagine that you use and “REsomething” your glass jars, bottles and decanters. Welcome to my world.

A while back I asked for “your” Glass Jar ideas and I got some wonderful responses, so, here goes:

My sister, June, suggested this article. We grew up with canning jars and glass jelly jars that were reused for juice glasses. They were cute, and were indicative of the current “hero or cartoon character”.. I remember one with Howdy Doodey, and another with Hop A-Long Cassidy. I also remember when Clorox® came in dark brown glass containers.

From June in New Mexico:

I use them regularly to store left-overs. The food can easily be reheated and the storage is vertical, taking up less refrigerator space. Make hanging lights: put votive in jar; fasten wire around grooves and wire hanging handles from wire. Paint the jar, etc. hang and light the candle. Or just put candle in jar and set on table. Pretty and quite countrified. I do all the above.

(Author’s note … not only can you store food in glass, you can reheat that food in that container in the microwave and not worry about noxious chemicals emitted from plastics).

From daughter, Greta in Illinois:

I realllllly liked your wine glass... btw!! (Author note: Thanks, Greta). OK Jars...
First, the BEST way to clean labels off... Fill jar with HOT water. Immerse jar, at least up to the label, in a larger container filled with HOT water, add up to a TBSP of Dish Soap, I like Dawn® best; let sit at least 10 minutes. Use a green scrubby to get remaining glue off... it'll be easy! Do not put jars with labels in your dishwasher, it will clog, and the works will get gummed up from the glue. 
I like big mason jars for drinking out of. With Kids around, they don't break as easily. Sweet Tea is best! 
To store stuff. I have a button collection, and I use washed out Jars of various shapes and sizes for holding ‘em. 
Baby food jar lids can be nailed onto the underside of a shelf. Anything from spices to stamps and paper clips to screws and bolts can be put in the jars, which you then screw onto their lids. This makes a wonderful father’s/mother’s day project! 
Baby food jars are also great for sharing a portion of your favorite beauty product (like lotion) with a friend, so they don't have to purchase a full size to see if they like it. The mouths are wide enough to get a couple of fingers in. 
Make mini terrariums! 
Make a 3D scrap-book page of someones interests, or a recent trip. 
Make Candles!
From Niece Maria in New Mexico:

We buy marinara sauce that comes in re-usable canning jars so we have boxes of the jars. Some summers we have our act together and can our own pasta sauce (I can send you the recipe & directions if you like). We have boxes and boxes of these jars. 
Last Christmas, I found a great jar use in NM Magazine®. They made biscotti (biscochito & pinon*) and other pretty cookies. They put them into quart jars and decorated the lid. I made their biscotti and some cocoa biscotti. I put them in the jars alternating the colors, then put some chocolate covered treats (espresso beans, almonds, cranberries) and some that were Christmas colored too. I used a Christmas cocktail napkin on the top of the jar with gold elastic bows. They were pretty gifts for co-workers!
This could be used for Valentines Day, St. Pats, Easter too. enjoy!
* (author note: Away from the “Great Southwest: you know this nut as a Pine Nut and is pronounced Peen-yohn’).

VA friend Marty:

for the man in the house, my dad used jars in his garage for storing nails and small items. He would screw the lid into the wall and then screw the jar full of bits into the lid.
My niece used all different sizes and kinds of jars for her reception dinner. She put wild flowers in them and it looked really cute.

Friend Susan in CO:
We have always used mason jars to make sun tea: two to four tea bags in a quart of water set in the sun for 4 hours makes some great tea!

Friend Eva in VA:

In Sweden I used to pick mushrooms in the forest, then I dried them on newspapers for 3 day's and stored them for years in jars. Also I used to grow alpha sprouts in an upside down jar with a cloth as a lid. just rinsed the sprouts once a day thru the cloth. Here in the United States (son) Tray came home from school and told me that; he was supposed to do a project and grow beans... He needed 8 containers and then I found a box of jars at Kroger that he used...It worked perfect.

From your author, Cat.
I have a plethora of uses for glass containers, here are just a few.  I do NOT like to look at modern labels, so I store analgesics in clear glass containers, such as little bottles and jars (one of my most favorite jars to repurpose is a horseradish jar).  Most of my pasta, potatoes, dry milk, dry beans. homemade tea and hot cocoa mixes are all in large jars and containers on the counter. Some of the lids are cork, some are screw-on, some are hinged.  A wide-mouth quart Ball®  rests on my desk. holding several pairs of scissors.

© 2011 Cat Brennan © 2011 Aunt Cat's Place

Sunday, February 6, 2011

♥♥♥Hearts in the Country♥♥♥

valentine two children making valentines

Hopefully, the Groundhog’s prediction this year is RIGHT ON! Don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough cold weather to last me for quite a while.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Are you ready? Think beyond that hideous red silky, satiny, velvet heart shaped box, the stale candy and the over priced cards. Okay! I wouldn’t turn down the long stemmed red roses, but the rest is just tacky.

Love comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes; so don’t leave out anyone when you’re making heart cards and candy. Your little ones at home would love to get Valentine Cards just like their older siblings do at school. Perhaps your sister, aunt, Grandpa or nephew needs to know your love. Make them some cards, or some hand dipped chocolates; they’re not hard. I’ve included a recipe for my very special recipe for Chocolate Tumbleweeds. They are easy, delicious and very impressive. If you’re working on your grocery list, just add some chocolate bark, flaked coconut and some little paper candy cups. These are so easy and no dipping is required.  You'll find the recipe on my CAT FOOD page above.

Perhaps you want to fix a delicious meal and prefer a recipe different from the norm. Here’s a great source. Check out a web site entitled: . There you can find all the recipes you’ve grown to love and just never copied down, such as Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie recipe, Fantasy Fudge, Campbell’s soup recipes galore, and more. Each week day, Back of the Box features a new “brand name” recipe and you’ll also find Monthly entries for seasonal or holiday ideas. Check it out and get cookin’.

One of my all-time meal saver sites is Use the existing recipes, if you know the name, or type in the ingredients you have and would like to use, and voila! A recipe is almost always there. If you have a favorite that you make and are very proud of, you can add it to the site as well (Mary’s Macaroni Meal, Paul’s Peppy Pizza - or whatever).
fly bug love hearts zanzara cretina architet 01

Make some special cards yourself. Grab some card stock, red paint, an ordinary kitchen sponge, paper, pencil, Sharpie® and scissors. *Draw a heart that you like on a piece of paper, cut it out and draw the outline of it onto the sponge with a Sharpie® pen. Carefully cut out the heart and make sure it doesn’t have any ragged edges. *BEFORE you trace and cut out your sponge-stamp heart and to make the sponge “work best” - wet it, and then ring out. Then, roll it in a towel and squeeze to remove excess water.

Pour a small puddle of red paint onto a paper or foam plate (if your paint is water-based, you can use a “real” plate if you wash it before the paint dries hard – thus not adding to the landfill). Gently dip the sponge into the paint, and then lightly press the heart onto your card.

Add an appropriate poem or note after it dries and you have a card made with your hands from your heart (see my napkins on the CAT FUR to KITTEN BRITCHES page above). I used this method to stamp/print the napkins with washable fabric paint.

The sponge I used is just an ordinary kitchen sponge without a scratcher side and about ¾” thick; any thicker that this and it would be difficult to cut with clean edges. This idea is similar to the potato stamps we made in Vacation Bible School, but the sponges can be used over and over. Once you are finished with your sponge-stamp, be sure to wash it thoroughly. When you want to use it again, go through the wet and dry procedure as above.

I hope your Country Hearts are full of Love and Laughter!

© 2011 Cat Brennan   © 2011 Aunt Cat’s Place

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Country Jars #2
I would love for you all to check this out .. and let me know what you think.
JARS!  Mason®, Kerr®, Ball®, Mayonnaise, Mustard, Pickle, Water, Canning, Baby Food, Spice, Spaghetti Sauce. All JARS . . .What wonderful thoughts this little word does conjure.
When I was about 12, I wanted a camera .. notice, I didn't say "new camera" .. I didnt' have one. I wanted a little Kodak® Flash Camera. My mom told me that if I saved half the cost, she would match it. I covered an old jar with paint and tape and whatever, punched a line of holes in the lid to resemble a coin slot, and proceeded to save my change. When I had finally saved enough, true to her word, Mama matched my funds and I got my camera, complete with film and some little flash bulbs. One of the first rolls of film I shot was of Elvis Presley on television. When I got my pictures back, I had a pile of pictures of the flash in the TV screen. That was an expensive lesson.
Another jar-of-savings-adventure was for paint for my as-yet-unpainted bedroom. This was earlier when I was probably 10 or 11; right after "we" built a frame-stucco addition onto our adobe house, adding central heat, 3 bedrooms, a second bath and converted our old bedroom into a den. When I had reached my goal again, and with matching funds from my parents, I purchased the paint and Mama helped me paint my room. In a word, it was BLUE! Not a wimpy pastel, mind you! Think of the blue you see when your PC screen gets into trouble...yep, THAT BLUE.
In the summers and fall of 1968 and 1969, I learned a lot about canning.apples pear Seeing all of those jars lined up full of colorul and good food was such a rewarding feeling. Some of the things I canned that year were, Solid Pack Pumpkin, Sweet and Spicy German Chunk Pickles, Bread and Butter Pickles, Apple Sauce and Butter, Pepper Hash and Peaches. These were all so pretty, not to mention quite tasty.  cucumbers 1The German Chunk pickle recipe that I use requires several days to make, soaking and brining and cooking, but the result is a delicious, sweet and spicy chunk pickle. The original recipe calls for GREEN food coloring, but they are pretty in RED and GREEN for the holidays.
Next time, I will share all of your ideas for using JARS.
Have a great country week, and stay warm!.

© 2011 Cat Brennan
© 2011 Aunt Cat's Place
Sewing Pro

Friday, January 7, 2011

Country Red Neck Wine Glass

new year HappyNewYear
Christmas is but a memory now, but I must tell you, I had a lot of fun this year!
By now you know that I make many, if not most of my gifts, and this year was no exception.  Throughout the next few weeks, I'll tell you about more of them and publish pictures, too.
new year champagne glasses 5I made a "one of a kind" gift for a good friend.  His wife is one of my best friends and she ENCOURAGED me to make it for him.
This one-of-a-kind gift is a Red Neck Wine Glass. I had heard about this "item" from a co-worker and figured I could make one. The process was fun.
I started with a clean, chip-free, pint-size Ball© canning jar and a clear glass candle stick. Then, I went to Michael's® for some glue to attach glass to glass. Do you have ANY IDEA how many choices for glue there are at Michael's?  Holy Cow!  I found one with directions that included "curing in the sun" and I'm wondering, WHAT SUN??? That one was O-U-T.  I finally chose Goop®; a really, really good adhesive.
I allowed the jar and candle stick to set for 24 hours and added an appropriate charm.
You do know, don't you, that all self respecting wine drinkers must use a charm on their wine glasses so as not to pick up someone elses beverage? That rule is written somewhere, I'm sure.
My friend, being the sophisticated man that he is (No tongue in cheek here - he REALLY is) deserved an appropriate charm to go with his one of a kind glass. I made his very special ... using a plastic tie wrap/zip wrap, I attached a tiny pair of pliers to the stem.  I've posted a picture of this extraordinary creation on my CAT LITTER page. 
Until next time, have a Country good time and stay warm.  small snow  small snow  small snow small snow  small snow  small snow  small snow  small snow 

© 2011 Cat Brennan
© 2010 Aunt Cat's Place